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Britain hits 7,000 daily coronavirus infections amid lockdown debate

Britain reported a daily record of more than 7,000 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, as pressure grows on the government, with some demanding loosening and others tightening of social-distancing rules.

The country has reported some 450,000 coronavirus infections since March.

Its official death toll linked to COVID-19 is more than 42,000, Europe’s highest total.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced tighter social-distancing rules last week after a surge in coronavirus infections across Britain this month.

Britain’s daily number of tests has increased rapidly to almost 200,000 while local measures have been imposed in large areas of northern England and parts of Scotland and Wales.

Pressure has intensified on Johnson from lawmakers in his Conservative party to loosen the restrictions and allow parliament to vote on the legislation underpinning them.

But opposition lawmakers and many health experts are pressing him to take stronger action to curb the renewed spread of the virus.

Parliament is scheduled to debate the government’s coronavirus legislation on Wednesday.

Johnson provided more ammunition for critics on Tuesday when he was asked to clear up confusion about local lockdown rules in north-eastern England.

Johnson was unable to explain how the rules apply to indoor and outdoor settings.

“Apologies, I misspoke today,’’ he tweeted later.

“In the north-east, new rules mean you cannot meet people from different households in social settings indoors, including in pubs, restaurants and your home,’’ Johnson wrote.

“You should also avoid socialising with other households outside.’’

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